GLENDALE, California – Just like the English translation of his name, Marvin Mabait seems like a nice guy, but inside the ring, he is as vicious as they come.
With a record of 19 wins, one loss and two draws, the 122-pounder has already knocked out 13 opponents, with four of those coming in the first round.
His most recent fight lasted only 36 seconds, giving him the interim World Boxing Organization (WBO) intercontinental bantamweight title, which he will defend in Mexico on Friday.
“Excited na ako, kasi unang defense sa belt ko ngayon. Sa Mexico ulit, at Mexicano ulit ang kalaban ko,” said Mabait.
While he may not be well-known yet, the rising star has already faced off with the best.
Mabait, a Zamboanga-native, has been tapped as a sparring partner for Nonito Donaire, Brian Viloria, Chinese sensation Zou Shiming, and other champions.
He is also trained by Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach, Justin Fortune. Though Mabait is too small to spar with him, he also works out with the “Pacman.”
“Napu-push din ako, kasi grabi din ang training nila. Tsaka ‘yung mga technique na nakukuha ko sa kanila at ‘yung ibang mga style,” said Mabait.
Mabait arrived in California five months ago, just before the Zamboanga siege. While the crisis has been contained, he says his family remains in danger and his motivation is to fight for his family.
“Kaya nga mahirap doon sa amin, kasi ang pamilya ko, laging magulo doon. Patayan, kidnapping, kaya nagsisikap ako para din sa pamilya ko,” he said.
Mabait is the third ranked bantamweight by the WBO, and he hopes to climb higher after his Friday night clash against Alejandro Hernandez in Mexico.
With him fighting in enemy territory, Mabait believes he has no choice but to win by knockout, as Mexican judges tend to side towards their countrymen when it comes to split decisions.